About Us / Our People
Val's story is pretty unique in the wine business and began six generations ago in Sonoma, CA. Val's two great-great grandfathers are well-known California pioneers and historic Sonoma legends. Mexican General Mariano Vallejo founded Sonoma in 1835 and made wine in the army barracks still located on Sonoma's town square. He was forced at gunpoint to relinquish California to the Bear Flaggers — a self-proclaimed and rather nasty group who declared California a republic for themselves on June 14, 1846, the precursor to California official statehood 25 days later.
Vallejo (Val) Haraszthy established Haraszthy Family Cellars in 2006. Three distinct separate wines are produced from grapes grown in Sonoma Valley, Lodi, and Amador County – the three most preeminent California Zinfandel appellations.
Val’s great-great grandfathers were Mariano Vallejo, who founded Sonoma in 1835, and Agoston Haraszthy, who is often referred to as “the father of California viticulture.”
Mariano Vallejo was the last of the Mexican governors of Alta (northern) California and a winemaker in his own right. On June 14, 1846, Vallejo was unceremoniously captured and arrested at his home by a group of Sonoma settlers intent on seizing the territory for themselves. Lucky to escape with his life, the group took him prisoner, lowered the Mexican flag and fashioned their own flag depicting a grizzly bear and a star commemorating Texas. The uprising subsequently became known as “the bear flag incident.” The bear on the wine label commemorates this historic California event.
Agoston Haraszthy was a Hungarian immigrant who came to America in the early 1840’s. Apart from his pioneer efforts to establish a world-class wine industry in California, he holds other important distinctions: he was the first Hungarian to permanently settle in the United States, founder of one of the earliest towns in Wisconsin, owner and operator of the first steam boat to engage in regularly scheduled traffic on the upper Mississippi and founder of California’s first commercial winery. Agoston is responsible for bringing the first European grapes (vitis vinifera) to California in 1861 and distributing them to local farmers in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.
The Haraszthy family has lived in Sonoma Valley continuously for six generations. Val is the winemaker and owner of Haraszthy Family Cellars, which produces approximately eight thousand cases of wine annually.